Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Maybe It’s Normal, but I Don’t Have to Like It

By Kay Kendall

This month I’m putting final touches on my second mystery, rushing to meet a self-imposed deadline and trying to make up for time lost with my spouse’s recent illness. The waiting period before my editor’s comments arrived was agonizing. That was when I drummed my fingers on the table instead of pounding keys on my PC.

What will my editor say? Is my second book junk compared to my first one? Is it a hopeless mess? Have I lost my touch—that is, any talent that I had to begin with? The days passed. The clock ticked. I chewed my cuticles. I waited. 

All authors who address the agonies of the writing and publishing process
mention that there are always down periods when they doubt themselves. Even those who routinely issue bestselling novels confess to having these feelings.

Okay, so misery loves company. I admit that their angst makes mine lighter by seeming normal. Usually that kind of reasoning works for me.

However! This week while I waited for my editor’s next round of revisions, I decided this was no fun at all. I didn’t care if it was normal. I didn’t care if others felt the same way. I didn’t feel good about anything, and my nerves were shredded.

Yesterday when the long-awaited documents hit my inbox, I opened them immediately, read through the general comments, and scanned the three-hundred-page manuscript that will become RAINY DAY WOMEN, the further exploits of my intrepid amateur sleuth Austin Starr.

After thirty minutes of reading, I realized I had slid into a comfortable groove. I’d been here before with mystery number one, DESOLATION ROW. I recalled enjoying this part of the process—the to and fro with my editor. She’s a good fit with me. We happily spend time choosing the right synonym or arguing about the proper way to spell whiskey. Or whisky, depending what country it comes from. Yes, I had worked through this once with the first book. You bet I could do it again. 

Since I have persevered, not given up, not thrown in the towel, I have moved on to this delicious stage of preparing my manuscript for publication. If it weren’t for the too-tight deadline, I would be having a blast. I cannot burn the midnight oil as I once did—never mind at 30. How about back when I could really tear up the track—when I was 50? <Note to Editor Beth: Yes, I've indulged my flaw--a fondness for cliches--but I usually mean them tongue-in-cheek. I'll enjoy them here all the better to rip them from the ms.>

And so it goes, as my manuscript, my editor, my publisher Stairway Press, and I tramp ever onward to that hallowed publication date. Please mark your calendars, my friends. RAINY  DAY WOMEN sees the light of day—despite its title—on Tuesday, July 7.

                                                        *******

Kay Kendall set her debut novel, DESOLATION ROW--AN AUSTIN STARR MYSTERY in 1968. The sequel RAINY DAY WOMEN shows her amateur sleuth Austin Starr proving her best friend didn't murder women’s liberation activists in Seattle and Vancouver. A fan of historical mysteries, Kay does for the 1960s what novelist Jacqueline Winspear accomplishes for England in the 1930s–present atmospheric mysteries that capture the spirit of the age. She is also an award-winning international PR executive who lives in Texas with her husband, three house rabbits, and spaniel Wills. Terribly allergic to the bunnies, she loves them anyway! Her book titles show she’s a Bob Dylan buff too. 



8 comments:

  1. Most of the time I love doing the edits. What I don't like is when everything that needs to be done happens at once.

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  3. I agree, Marilyn. I realized this week that I have this unattainable goal in my head. I feel I should strive for and eventually achieve a manuscript for which my editor will say...well done, very few edits, let's rush to publication. I feel like I'm deficient otherwise. But that's not the process, that's not the reality. Still, I can't rid myself of that feeling. -- I guess I should remember some books by a super famous author who does not let herself be edited anymore. Talk about repetitious and indulgent. ALL writers need good editors. -- Still that is rational. The emotional part of my brain says I need to be perfect. sigh.....

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  4. So this is what Liz and I have to look forward to. Now that we have signed our contract its a waiting game until the first edits are sent for our edification. Can't wait..I think!

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  6. It is all good, as far as the overview is concerned. THIS is what you want. I don't see as much angst in either one of you, Pam or Liz, and you will have each other for constant support. You will be okay. That said, there are ups and owns in your emotions. That is for sure. The first time I knew I might be in trouble was when other published authors told me, during my period of euphoria when my debut mystery came out...enjoy THIS while you can. I thought, oops, what are they suggesting?!! Best of luck, and you can always, always rant to me. Congratulations on your contract! Write on!

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  7. I'm awaiting feedback from my editor on book two right now, so I especially appreciate this post! Best wishes for your July 7 launch, Kay!
    (For some reason my comment didn't post on the first try, so here it is again. I hope it doesn't appear twice.)

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  8. I'm awaiting feedback from my editor on book two right now, so I especially appreciate this post! Best wishes for your July 7 launch, Kay!
    (For some reason my comment didn't post on the first try, so here it is again. I hope it doesn't appear twice.)

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